COACH’S CORNER: Moms, the heroes of high school football

Behind every good football player is a good football mom. (Photo by Steve Bowen/Bowen Arrow Photography)

I dedicate this column to my mom, Amy Martone, the best football mom…

To have a successful high school football program, you need a lot of things – good facilities, support from the administration and buy-in from players, to name a few.

One of the things you see in every successful program is great support from parents, and the BEST programs have GREAT moms. 

Why do you need great moms in football? Because a lot of things that keep programs going strong would cease to exist without the support of these often tired and loving people. 

It is hard to quantify the importance of a good football mom. As coaches, we have to understand that we are going to be in charge of keeping their child safe in what is one of the most violent and dangerous sports out there. Believe me, I know that a few of the moms out there are every coach’s worst nightmare. Mothers are usually the first to text the coach about a problem or something they feel needs to be addressed. I am sure coaches sigh as certain numbers pop up on their phones.

The motherly nature of wanting what’s best for their child is not what makes a great football mom, it’s a mom that is dedicated to the importance of the team. 

I am not here to say fathers aren’t important (they are), but there is just something different about moms. Everyone knows a football mom. The loud one in the stands, the quiet observer, the one who opens her home for all the boys to go after practice, the transporter who loads up her vehicle with half the team to make sure they get to practice or an event on time, and so many more. Football moms have to be as versatile, quick-thinking and strong as their kids on the team. 

My mom has been a football mom for most of her life. She knew that going into her marriage. For most of their 40 years together, my father had been a high school football coach. Every day in the fall, my mother would get up early and prepare herself to teach high school English. Once the school day was over, she had to do something with football. One of my earliest memories I have is of my mother baking cupcakes or cookies for my father’s quarterback at Concordia Lutheran High School.  My father’s QBs were are often teased for being soft and called “cupcakes.” Mother was always the first to defend her husband’s players and would make them a special treat, and, of course, make the other players and coaches quite jealous. 

As I grew up in youth football, there were many times when my mom would take four or five players home from practice and often make sure that they were safe and well-fed.  I remember specifically a freezing game at Lakeside Middle School where my mother sat at the top of the bleachers with a blanket wrapped around her, the only fan in the stands for both teams.  But that was my mother knowing that she was there to no only support me sure, but also there to support the other players who didn’t have anyone there to watch them. 

 As I went into high school, my mother was always there at every football game. She organized senior events, award ceremonies and team dinners.  It was there that I saw the true importance of team moms.  The beauty of football moms is that they don’t just take care of their son (or daughter), but they look at every single player on the team as one of their own. It’s this selfless identity that truly defines a football mom.  

Across the city, I have seen so many great examples of these wonderful women who often form clubs or parent organizations. While dads are usually the more interested in football and the success of their children and their team, it is the mothers and grandmothers who are starting and running these booster clubs at many schools. Which brings me back to my original point – to have a successful football program, you have to have great mothers. 

So as you’re taking in a game this high school football season, take a look around the stands and make sure to take timeto appreciate the great mothers who simply love their children and love football. 

Coach‘s Corner appears weekly at Outside the Huddle. The author Ben Martone played football in the SAC and has coached at North Side and Northrop. He is currently a teacher at Weisser Park Elementary in Fort Wayne Community Schools.

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